I remember my eighth-grade history teacher telling the class that one of the many blessings of living in these United States is that citizens could not be harassed by retroactive laws. The quiet fervor with which I recited the Pledge of Allegiance the next morning was perceptibly amplified. I already had a guilty conscience, and the thought that today’s acts might merit punishment under tomorrow’s law was more than I could bear.
All these years later, my conscience is no less guilty, but my eighth-grade history teacher is dead and I have no choice but to bear the thought that yesterday’s acts might merit punishment under today’s laws. The long arm of the law now routinely nabs new-minted outlaws from that Robber’s Roost we call the past. Time’s Arrow is now bent by the blubbery weight of social justice.
This has lately occasioned much anxiety in those who are not, by nature, mealy-mouthed poltroons, and who have, therefore, expressed their manly opinions with freedom and panache. Those with a history of flippancy now shuffle through life with dark circles under their eyes, waiting for a visit by the Secret Police. Flippancy is blasphemy in hindsight, and the New Gods are exceedingly vain and jealous gods.
I am not unfamiliar with that anxiety, that shuffle, or those dark circles under the eyes, but I am trying to cultivate a certain debonair insouciance. Not because I think it will throw off the rats, the finks, or the stoolies. Not because I think it will melt the heart of a hanging judge. I am trying to cultivate a certain debonair insouciance because the disciples of the New Gods are, without exception, creeps, toadies, goons and martinets.
It would be a very shameful thing to have lived a life that would pass inspection by this mutant crew of sour cogs and sadist freaks. So turn that anxiety around and take heart. Indictment under their loathsome law is a mark of honor, conviction the crown of glory.